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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do in vitro blastocysts go to heaven when they perish?

While I am not trying to be insensitive to those who have tried unsuccessfully to have children through in vitro fertilization, I want to make a logical plea to those who oppose the use of leftover blastocysts for scientific research.

The best use of in vitro fertilized eggs is to make a baby whether in the donor's body or in a surrogate mother. However, many leftover blastocysts are thrown away because their donors abandon them or because they have stayed too long in the lab freezer to be used for implantation. THESE are the cells scientists would like to use for research. They are already slated for the trash can. Scientists are NOT asking for the creation of fertilized eggs for scientific purposes. They are NOT asking for the eggs that could become snowflake babies.

Larry Churchill of Vanderbilt University's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society made a valid point I'd like to share about the leftover cells.

Are blastocysts leftover from in vitro fertilization equal to human life?

If the Catholic Church really believed this they would be baptizing, administering last rites and conducting funerals for these cells. Instead, they go into the trash can after they are no longer useful due to freezer burn or abandonment by their donors. If these cells have the same rights as human beings, do they not at least deserve a decent burial?

Scientists doing research on stem cells realize there is no moral issue involved in the research. The cells in the Petri dish are equivalent to any other cell in the laboratory. Babies grow inside mother's, not in lab dishes!

To think that these cells deserve the same rights and protection as humans causes us to protect something that could become an embryo IF it was implanted in a uterus. Even when lab produced blastocysts are introduced into the womb, there is no guarantee that implantation or conception will occur. Without implantation, there is no pregnancy. This is why a frozen blastocyst cannot be defined as a pregnancy. Therefore, there is no baby being formed in the lab.

Protecting "potential" life at the expense of "real" life (humans already living) is inhumane. Including these cells as members of humanity violates the rights of the living humans who could be helped or even cured by research on material that is going to waste. Literally!

To put it in perspective, consider this scenario. A fertility lab is on fire. There is a daycare center next door and children are present. Would you risk your life to save the cells in the lab or would you rush in to save the children in the daycare center?

How can anyone say that blastocystic stem cell research on leftover cells is a moral issue?


Janet Grace Riehl said...

Interesting analogy about the fire, Yvonne...Janet

L.E.E. Design said...

Yvonne this is such a great thing you are doing, making us all aware of a great need in the world! You are a great, great person!

Jessica Dockter

Boo said...

Excellent points there. That last scenario, it really does get to the heart of the matter.

I cam over here via Lynn's blog on Xanga. You gave an great interview!

Bastet said...

I always say that so many of these "human" cell evangelists care more about the possible human beings than the ones who are actually alive. Note how many of them are for the death penalty.

There's something really wrong about thinking that the mating of genetic material in a cell is the equivalent of human life. For centuries no one could debate when the soul actually entered the body, but I would seiously question that a there is a soul in a petrie dish.

Just my opinion.

(for blog train) www.xanga.com/bastetmax

MLO said...

Blastocysts are NEVER implanted from being frozen, they are TRANSFERRED in hopes of IMPLANTATION and subsequent pregnancy. You will lose the IVF patient community over saying something they consider this ignorant. (I believe you want them on your side, rather than attacking you for misinformation?)



Yvonne Perry said...

As MLO says, Blastocysts are NEVER implanted from being frozen, they are TRANSFERRED in hopes of IMPLANTATION and subsequent pregnancy.

MLO, I do understand the difference between transferral and implantation.

Even if a blastocyst is introduced into a uterus at the proper time of the menstrual cycle, there is no guarantee that it will implant. I cover this in depth in my book.

Thank you for taking time to comment.